There’s a growing divide in the United States. Not the one between political parties, though this seems to garner most of our attention lately. There’s a much more important, consequential divide in education. More and more opportunities are tied to a college degree. It’s woven into the new American Dream, a nearly ubiquitous marker of success. And in our national consciousness, the path to college is fair, even, entirely reliant on a student’s aptitude, effort, and talent. B
Americans have a belief in our education system as a place of egalitarianism. It may be the single point within our lives where our collective “bootstrap” ideal is most noticeable - in the pressures we put on students, in the institutions and performance markers we have created, in the very way we discuss the problems of education. But our system is not fair, equal, or meritocratic. Those rising aren’t always the objective best. Money plays a role, but our problems are founda
Jose Montoya* is the kind of kid that can walk into a room, and you just know. You know he’s going to give you some kind of hell just by the way he struts—sly and cool, no hint of effort on his part. He makes a plain uniform look cool with his clean red Vans, his white shell necklace, and his hair spiked into a faux-hawk that looks like he woke up that way.
Jose Montoya is the leader of my first class of the day—a class dominated by fearless boys, who will do anything to en
I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of perception—the way people view the world around them and how two people can be looking at the exact same scenario yet see different things. Anais Nin once said, “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” I heard this when I was just a little girl, and it is still one of my favorite quotes. It communicates what I believe to be an important truth: that our perceptions of the world shape everything we do—how we communic
Over the last three years I have had the pleasure of teaching high school students in North Tulsa at both Central High School and McLain High School. My students have a lot to say and share with anyone willing to listen. However, they often lack a formal platform to voice their opinions, and, maybe most importantly, they often lack an audience dissimilar from themselves. You see, my students generally receive one of three reactions when they’re out around town: they’re overlo
My students lived lives filled with tragedies and realities that most adults would be traumatized by. For the first semester of my first year of teaching, I would get in my car some days and just cry.If you love someone, you can’t bear to see them go through pain the way many of my students had in their short lives. My kids confided everything in me. I taught English, a subject that gives ample room for self-reflection and storytelling. Their narratives were often thrilling,